The Open Society Initiative for West Africa’s activities and grants have worked to promote transparency in resource management by establishing the West Africa Resource Watch Institute in Senegal. The institute trains civil society partners on how to monitor the revenue flows in the natural resource extraction industries and to advocate for improved transparency and accountability in the management of these revenues. OSIWA’s law and justice efforts have focused on criminal justice reform through the funding of groups working on prisoners legal defense, pretrial detention issues, and alternatives to incarceration.
OSIWA has also been a powerful proponent of transitional justice mechanisms such as Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Public health efforts include increasing access to HIV treatment, defending the health rights of vulnerable groups such as migrants and sex workers, and advocating for the incorporation of human rights norms into the administration of programs and policies addressing the AIDS epidemic. In the area of media and information, OSIWA works to raise the level of professional journalism, advance media independence, promote freedom of information laws, and strengthen community radio.